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The Italian Job

By Andy
Thursday 4th August 2011
If Alberto Aquilani's main objective from this pre-season was to win Liverpool fans over then he has got me hook, line and sinker…..

I know you shouldn't get over carried away with one 10 minute cameo, but it was hard not to be impressed last night. Two excellent long-range efforts and two assists will have either whetted the appetite of Fiorentina or Milan even further, or it will have given Kenny some serious food for thought. The Roman is unique in what he has to offer; flair, creativity, an eye for a killer pass, as well as a decent shot. Personally I would be sad to see him go back to his homeland without ever really having had a fair crack of the whip. His time at Anfield has so far been cursed (I won't go over old ground but we know why) so he hasn't been able to show how good he really is.

To be fair he has probably been one of the picks of pre-season so far (so I am going off more than just 10 mins) and the cynics amongst you might argue that this is because he's trying to get himself in the shop window, but personally I think he's finally finding his feet. Given the large number of midfielders at Kenny's disposal I think it's unlikely that Aquilani will start the season, but I think he could become an invaluable squad player. As already eluded to, he has different attributes that would give us some much needed variation when the need arises. Additionally we only have 3 recognised strikers and one of those is Ngog, so there is a good chance that we will at some point require a midfielder to play off one striker. Granted we do have an abundance of players who could play this role (Cole, Kuyt, Gerrard spring to mind) but I believe the skilful Italian could excel in this position and prove many of his doubters wrong.

I must admit I am slightly concerned about the ever increasing squad size. If we do need to raise some funds or reduce the wage bill then maybe Kenny will have no choice but to let one of his assets go. I still haven't heard much on Meireles, who arguably along with Aquilani represents the club's best chances of recouping some big money. That said I wouldn't really want either to go. I could not say the same about; Degen, Poulsen, Ngog, Insua, El Zhar and Jovanovic. Hopefully the latter will stop being greedy and agree terms with Anderlect in the next week and I am sure Poulsen could attract interest from a Danish outfit such as Copenhagen. As for the rest, I don't think it will be that easy to offload them. I am not sure whether the club needs to generate some revenue right now or not? One thing I am certain of, is that if we are going to entertain the idea of selling our assets then we are in the box seat. Like Villa and Sunderland, we need to play hardball. Unless the Italian clubs are willing to match our asking price then we should stand firm. Aquilani has 3 years left on his contract so it's nothing like the Nasri dilemma that Arsenal are facing; we simply don't have to sell unless it suits the club.

I just hope we don't sell and that Aquilani has a season remember; let's wait and see.....

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